House hunters willing to pay up to £10k more for strong mobile connectivity at a property

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That includes me, writes Annie Turner. Customer experience is nothing without a network that works, every time – and there's a long way to go.

On Monday morning on my daily newsletter deadline, my broadband packed up. I phoned the supplier – I live in a rural area where there is only the choice of one.

My 900Mbps fibre link in the hall is plugged into my iMac in my office at the other end of the building via a heavy-duty Ethernet cable: thick flint walls aren’t helpful for Wi-Fi, even with a mesh network.

I called tech support and under instruction, heaved the dresser out to access the fibre modem, crawled about on the floor to relay which lights were on, take the fibre modem off the wall, unplug cables in the modem and the router, put them back in the right order and fire them back up, all while talking to tech support.

It involved quite a lot of running from one end of the building to the other which improved my temper no end.

Having been on my mobile phone for at least half an hour by the time everything had been put back together and powered up, it still didn't work.

Not enough capacity?

At this critical juncture, the mobile call dropped. I was stationary at the time. In fairness, the tech person tried to call me back several times but couldn't get through – no signal.

I sometimes get voicemail when the mobile next to me on my desk hasn’t rung, which also suggests network congestion.

I left my last mobile supplier – which makes much of its superior network – because in pre-pandemic days I got so fed up of NEVER being able to get online at Kings Cross station in London, regardless of time of day.

When I complained via Twitter, the reply was "It's a very busy place". Once I got over the surprise, the question is, why isn't there enough capacity? Yes I know one of the motivations for 5G is greater capacity but good luck with that in rural areas before 2028.

Back to my broaband crisis. I had to go through the whole palaver twice more with two different people at my fibre supplier (the first time I got put through to billing as the tech dept was swamped).

The mobile provider I chased later reckons rotten signal is due to the fabric of my house. I am not so convinced: in the past I have got my computer online by tethering my iPhone.

I pay almost £100 a month for my mobile and fibre broadband combined. At work I hear so much about fancy customer experience stuff. The bottom line is customers want reliable coverage at a good enough speed to do whatever they want to do. Everything else – free tickets or any other ‘perks’ are of zero value.

There is no other service I pay for that is delivered on the basis of best effort, which is what mobile coverage amounts to and the fibre isn't as reliable as expected either.

Back to the research

Virgin Media O2 found that 70% of house-hunters would be prepared to walk away from their dream home if mobile connectivity wasn’t up to par.

The shift to remote working means that nearly a third (31%) of Brits looking to buy would now be willing to pay more for a property with strong indoor and outdoor mobile phone signal.

One in five (20%) of house-hunters also admitted they would be willing to pay up to £10,000 more for a property with good mobile signal.

Good broadband connectivity is also crucial, with Brits now ranking this higher than good transport links when it comes to choosing a home to buy or rent – my FTTH is fab when it works, but I have to reboot the router a few times a week.

Overall, 60% of house-hunters said that the strength of the mobile and broadband network would be a top consideration when looking at properties to buy or rent.

That could or might not work in my favour here if i were selling my house – just depends when the buyer turned up.